Genealogy Trails History Group

Fanning's Illustrated Gazetteer of the United States

State, Territories, Counties, Cities, Towns & Post Offices


Transcribed by Jeana Gallagher and Sandy Stutzman
for the exclusive use of Genealogy Trails

PT is post town; PV is post village; PO is post office, PB is post borough, CH is court house, T is town

Northwestern Territory

a vast unorganized territory, the greater portion of which has never been explored, except by the Indians.  It lies between 43° and 49° north latitude, and 99° and 114° longitude west from Greenwich; and is bounded north by the British possessions, east by Minnesota, south by Nebraska territory, and west by the Rocky Mountains, which divided it from Oregon Territory.  Its superficial area is about 200,000 square miles.

Physical Aspect-- The greater part of this immense territory is watered by the Missouri river and its numerous tributaries.  The Yellow Stone, the largest tributary, extends its branches to the very base of the Rocky mountains, and to near the sources of the Nebraska.  A mountain ridge, which branches from the great Rocky mountains, in about 42° north latitude, traverses the country in a northeasterly direction toward Lake Winnipeg.  In the eastern portion of the territory the country is partly covered with forests, but beyond this commences a vast ocean of prairie, almost level and clothed in grass and flowers.

Climate-- In a country of such extent, generally level, naked, and open, the climate must be a great measure correspond to the latitude.  Immediately on the boarders of the settled states it is mild and temperate; beyond it gradually becomes more extreme; and toward the mountains, cold, bleak, and polar.   Travelers speak of encountering storms of hail ad sleet in the summer.  When the winds blow from the west, over the mountain summits, the cold is intense.

History-- This territory is a part of the Louisiana purchase.  That portion of the country lying in the valley of the Platte is generally termed "Nebraska Territory," and as such it has been proposed to organize it.  A bill for the purpose passed the house of representatives in February, 1853, but it failed to be acted on in the senate.  The section of the country north of this valley still retains the name of "Northwestern Territory," it being a part of the former extensive territory under that name, from which several states have been set off.  As yet the whole territory is inhabited by Indians, but the time is not far distant when the pioneer will penetrate its forests and prairies, and bring under cultivation the soil that from its creation has not been turned by the labor of man.

Back to Index Page of 1850 Gazetteer

Genealogy Trails History Group
©Genealogy Trails